Why Successful People Embrace Goal-Setting

Do you believe that setting goals is an important ingredient in success? Or to put it another way, how successful do you think you would be if you didn’t have goals? If you got up every day and allowed your day to unfold without direction, how do you think it would turn out?

Although having free time to relax and just let whatever happens form your day can be nice on occasion, most of the time if you want to reach your dreams and desires, you have to make an effort. And that effort involves goals and planning.

Life is like navigating a journey. And the first step in any journey is knowing where you want to go.

Why Successful People Embrace Goal-Setting

Know Your Destination

Successful people start with a goal. They know that without one, they have no direction or focus with which to achieve anything. It’s the very basis of their success. And all of the steps that lead to it are based on the final goal.
Having a goal is imperative before making any plans to get there! Imagine setting out on a road trip without any idea of where you’re going. Chances are you’d drive in circles and never really get anywhere.

Author Steve Mariboli wrote,

“If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”

For example, if you have a dream of being your own boss, then your goal might be to start your own business. Once you’ve established what’s important to you, then you can begin making plans to reach that destination. Successful People know that in order to accomplish anything, you first have to know what you want, and set a goal to achieve it.

When planning what they want, they do all the research. They find out everything they can about what it is they’re striving for. By learning as much as possible ahead of time, they can adjust their expectations to meet or prepare for the destination. If there are skills they will need along the way, they can be sure to get the training and education they need ahead of time. By learning all they can about the goal they’re wanting to reach, they increase the odds of arriving prepared to accomplish it.

When setting goals to complete a particular task or project, knowing what the end result should be, will help determine the steps to take. Regardless of what type of goal you have, it’s important to be clear about it.

Map it Out

When starting any plans to reach a goal, successful people know that it can help to map out the route to reach your destination. For example, what steps would you take? By having a plan, it gives you a clearer picture of where to start, and what milestones you can expect along the way.

What “points of interest” would you aim for? If you were taking a trip, you might look at the route you plan to take and see if there is anything that might make your journey easier or more enjoyable. Successful people look at goals with a broader picture in mind. They don’t just see the end, they see the entire timeline laid out along the way. When you set a definite goal, it’s easier to see the steps you’ll take to get there.

What stops would you plan along your route, to refresh, and confirm that you are still on track to reach your destination? Having things planned out ahead of time can help you to reach your goal more smoothly. Knowing what to expect around the next corner might make it less overwhelming.

Businessman and Investor Robert Herjavec stated,

“A goal without a timeline is just a dream.”

Successful people know that by setting goals along the way, you can get where you want to go, step by step.

Confidence and Motivation

Setting goals may help to put your dreams into perspective. Once you know what you want and are headed in the direction of achieving it, your vision can drive you forward.

American President Theodore Roosevelt stated,

“Believe that you can and you’re halfway there.”

Successful people know that having a goal is the motivator that propels you forward with confidence. When you know where you’re going, it can be exciting to see your progress as you move closer to the goal.

Goals allow you to experience success along the way. When you reach one goal, it leads to the next. For example, with the road trip scenario, every time you get to the next town, you know you are making progress. You can visibly see where you are on your journey, and how far you still have to go.

Similarly, if you are working on a task or project, having regular check points can help you to measure your progress, and make adjustments as needed.

Each step is a small goal in itself, and can give reasons to feel good about that individual success. Every goal you celebrate along the way, draws motivation to keep going!

Successful people love goal setting because it gives them the feeling of having accomplished something over and over again. And feeling successful can give you the confidence to do more.

Let the Goals be the Guide

Along every journey there is always the chance of running into detours. Even a well mapped out plan can encounter challenges that may require a course correction. But the end goal is not lost. It just may require a different route than you expected.

Japanese Management Consultant Kenichi Ohmae stated,

“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.”

When you find yourself off course, taking the time to reconsider your path before moving forward can save time and effort in the long run.

Successful people know that reaching any goal involves being flexible and making ongoing decisions that affect the outcome. When things come up, using the final goal as a guide can help navigate the twists and turns of unexpected situations.

At times, you may need to reset the GPS and take a temporary detour. But successful people know that a detour is not a dead end. By following the signs to get back on track they can still reach the final destination.

Inventor Henry Ford said,

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” Allow your goals to be your guide, and keep your eye on the prize.


Successful people embrace goals with commitment. Think again about the analogy of taking a trip. You wouldn’t plan a vacation with the expectation of driving to a wonderful destination, pack up your car, drive around the block, and then go back home, would you? Of course not!

Setting a goal and following through is the same type of thing. By committing to the task or process involved to reach a goal, you are telling yourself you intend to do it. Giving up or not putting enough effort into creating your step by step plan is not going to help you reach your goal.

By committing to a goal, successful people find their way to completing the things that are really important to them. Writing down goals, reviewing them often, and continuing to pursue what matters makes a difference. Having something to be excited about gives extra momentum to a goal you have committed to.

One program encourages “The 4 P’s of Goal Setting”, which include the words: Positive, Personal, Possible and Prioritized. When using this thought process, successful people choose positive goals that matter, with which they feel personally connected. The goal must be something that can be realistically reached, then prioritized with action and commitment.

Author Art Turock wrote,

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit. When you’re committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.”

Final thoughts

German poet Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe wrote,

“The important thing in life is to have a great aim, and the determination to attain it.”

Successful people know that by setting goals and then following through, they can reach the destination they have in mind. By having a direction and focusing on the steps it takes to get there, you may find that goal setting is your map to success!

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